vendredi, juin 17, 2016

Think Jo Cox's death needn't matter to you? Think again #weareyorkshiretoo

This past week, along with many if not most of you, I have struggled to take in the horror of the 

shootings of 49 mostly young, mostly queer men and women of color by an extremist, a 

slaughter so immense that it seems to divide one epoch of time from another - as though, 

somehow we cannot but emerge changed, if not in heart, at least in the words we use, and 

the way we use them.

I suppose that's progress.   Balance against those incremental steps our culture's unhinged

 fascination with guns and violent death and the insanity of our current political scene and 

it's hard to see a clear path to compromises on many of the intrinsic problems that continue

 to  shadow our culture, including bias against people of color, the threat of more terrorist 

events and the stream of  bills targeting gay and transgender men and women currently 

under discussion in state legislatures.

We're in turmoil. It's easy to feel immobilized, panicked, or determined to just take care of

our own "tribe."

So why should we pause to mourn the killing of a lone female legislator thousands of miles away?

Because when things are apparently getting worse and worse, she reminds us of what we 

could be at our best. 

Because we also, like the U.K.  are a democracy under threat.  

Because it's possible her courage may embolden us, as well as her fellow citizens to step out of the 

shadows, and have the bravery to advocate for those who can't speak for themselves.

According to those who knew Cox, she was a person of  profound character and conviction. Colleagues and friends who worked alongside the Labour MP from Yorkshire described a woman of passion and purpose - someone who seemed destined for leadership.  
“We’ve lost a great star,” Prime Minister David Cameron told the BBC, according to the Washington Post. “She had a huge heart. She was a very compassionate, campaigning MP. She was a bright star, no doubt about it — a star for her constituents, a star for Parliament, and a star right across the House, and we have lost a star.”

An advocate for remaining in the European Union (the so-called "Brexit" vote looms next week),

 she was a voice of conscience and an advocate for Syrian refugees -as well as someone 

who appreciated the many voices and backgrounds of her own district and saw the blend of 

races and ethnic groups as an advantage.  

While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us," she said in her first speech before Parliament.

Another reason we might want to mourn Jo Cox? Her killer is alleged to have long-lasting 

links to an American Neo-Nazi group.  We know that our own extremists have inspired

 killings over here, but it's still shocking when their tentacles reach abroad and 

touch innocent lives. 

Jo Cox was the mother of young children, and a wife. When I look at her photos, I see so many  

young mothers I know.  Perhaps it's unfair to hope that younger parents, preoccupied with raising their kids, will estimate the gravity of this moment the way many of us older parents 

do (or the way Cox apparently saw it).  But I hope that they will see something of 

themselves in her - and grasp the nettle of this extraordinary time.

“She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, said her husband Brendan. "One that our precious children are bathed in love, and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her.”

Or, as The Guardian put it today: "Honour her memory. Because the values and the commitment that she embodied are all that we have to keep barbarism at bay."

She's not here to do it on our behalf anymore.  Now it's up to us. 

All of us. 

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